Prime Rib, the Most Extravagant of Christmas Dinners

Prime beef standing rib roast, dry-aged 21 days

Prime beef standing rib roast, dry-aged 21 days

There’s no doubt that a standing rib roast of USDA Prime beef is an extravagant Christmas presentation. It’s a center piece—and it’s expensive. The standing rib roast in the picture, a 3-rib approximately 8-pound USDA Prime piece of beef cost about $250. Because of the enormous expense of prime rib you must pay close attention to its cooking because over-cooking means a lot of money down the drain. Luckily, simplest is the best. You can fancy it up a bit as I once did about 30 years ago by making it with a shallot and butter sauce that was found in a recipe from in Bon Appetit magazine in November 1989 from La Grenouille restaurant in New York City.

There are cheaper standing rib roasts to be had, namely if you decide to buy a USDA Choice or Select one. In any case, remember than one rib, depending on how it’s sliced, feeds two to three people, so a three-rib standing rib roast will feed six or seven people generously. Ask the butcher for a standing rib roast cut from the loin end and not the fattier shoulder end. Ask them to “french” the roast, which means cutting the fat away from one end of rib bone to expose it. Prime rib should always be cooked rare to medium rare–any more than that you are destroying the reason you bought such a tender–and expensive–piece of meat in the first place. If you like beef cooked medium to well then buy the appropriate kind of cut which will benefit from longer cooking, such as round or chuck steak. A 3-rib 8 pound roast will take between 90 and 105 minutes to cook and you must use a quick-read meat thermometer.
One 3-rib standing rib roast (about 7 to 8 ½ pounds), loin end, ribs # 8, 9, and 10
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2. Place the roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan in the middle of the oven. Check the roast after 30 minutes to make sure things look okay. Baste the ends with the accumulated juices. Once the internal temperature reaches 110ºF you need to be very attentive as the cooking can quickly finish now. Test by putting the thermometer into the meat (not touching a bone) in several places. It should be 120ºF.
3. Remove the roast to a carving platter and let rest 20 minutes. Serve with horseradish sauce.
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Horseradish Sauce
This is the simplest way to do it, the traditional accompaniment to prime rib.
5 tablespoons bottled horseradish
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups whipped cream
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
In a bowl, stir together the horseradish, mustard, whipped cream, salt, and white pepper.

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